Full-back reflects on his debut season and talks through his aims for the new campaign...
Full-back Gaetano Berardi has been discussing his first season in English football, how he expects the side to push for promotion in 2015/16 and the "incredible" Leeds fans at Elland Road.
Berardi arrived in West Yorkshire as part of last summer’s influx from Italian football, signing a two-year deal from Serie A side Sampdoria as substantial changes were made to the playing squad.
The Swiss international endured a tough start to life in England, though, finding himself red carded on his debut against Accrington Stanley and again on only his fourth appearance against Huddersfield Town.
Due to the fine form of Sam Byram, Berardi was unable to hold down a regular place in the team until Charlie Taylor’s move to the left-wing created an opening at left-back, and he started 10 of the last 11 games.
And the versatile 26-year-old made a big impression during his longest run in the starting line-up, leaving him eager to get the new campaign underway.
“I think that next season will be better,” he said. “The president will be back together with the players, the team and the new coach.
“I really think that we will be better next season. I think the new coach is coming with great preparation and great motivation.
“I have to play like the last month and I’m looking for us to have a good team to go to the Premier League.
“I came to England not for a joke, I came to England to win the Championship.
“The first half of the season was not very good for all the team but the second half got better for me and for the team.
“In the first half, I think we had more problems because many new players came in from different countries.
“The Championship is difficult, it’s more physical than in Italy and every match is much quicker. But I, and the other senior players, had to learn. Then things got better.”
Commenting on the support, Berardi added: “The fans are incredible because every home game there is 20 or 25 thousand people and every away match two or three thousand. It’s incredible.
“This is very good that they go to see the team and it’s a great motivation for us and the team.”
Berardi also hailed the young talent he played alongside during his first year at the club, with the former Brescia defender often finding himself as one of the older heads in the team.
“Lewis (Cook) is very good, he’s a good man,” he said. “He’s young but he’s a very good player like Mowatt and Sam Byram.
“Every young player who played with us this season made a very good impression.”
Gaetano Berardi was speaking to Radio Yorkshire's Good Morning Yorkshire breakfast show. You can listen to the full interview by clicking here.